Team Biden Slams WSJ Op-Ed Urging Jill to Drop Dr. Title as 'Patronizing, Sexist, Elitist'

President-elect Joe Biden and the first lady-elect's communications directors on Saturday criticized a Wall Street Journal op-ed urging Jill Biden to "drop the doc" in her name.

In the op-ed, essayist Joseph Epstein calls President-elect Joe Biden's wife "Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo," before arguing that "'Dr. Jill Biden' sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic."

"Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title 'Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students' Needs,'" Epstein said. "A wise man once said that no one should call himself 'Dr.' unless he has delivered a child."

As the article received significant backlash online, members of the Biden team began to criticize the disparaging remarks against Jill, with the first lady-elect's spokesperson calling it "pretty gross."

Pretty gross, @WSJopinion https://t.co/QcgFMsiSJB

— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosaDC) December 13, 2020

Kate Bedingfield, Joe Biden's communications director, labeled Epstein's op-ed as "patronizing, sexist, elitist drivel."

"Dr. B earned a doctorate in education, so we call her Doctor," she tweeted in reference to Jill Biden. "The title Mr. Epstein has earned here is perhaps not fit for mixed company."

What patronizing, sexist, elitist drivel. Dr. B earned a doctorate in education, so we call her Doctor. The title Mr. Epstein has earned here is perhaps not fit for mixed company. https://t.co/6rBjZ6u5j5

— Kate Bedingfield (@KBeds) December 12, 2020

Jen Psaki, who was recently named White House press secretary for the new Biden administration, tweeted Saturday evening: "You are not alone if today is the first day you googled "Joseph Epstein" because you were curious who popped out of a 1950's time warp to write the below for the WSJ."

You are not alone if today is the first day you googled “Joseph Epstein” because you were curious who popped out of a 1950’s time warp to write the below for the WSJ https://t.co/Bs5uIx5L7l

— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) December 13, 2020

Newsweek reached out to The Wall Street Journal for comment.

Epstein, a lecturer at Northwestern University, wrote that "the Ph.D may once have held prestige, but that has been diminished by the erosion of seriousness and the relaxation of standards in university education generally, at any rate outside the sciences."

"As for your Ed.D., Madame First Lady, hard-earned though it may have been, please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now," he added. "Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden."

A slew of public figures immediately came to Jill Biden's defense, with some calling the writing "trash" and the writer "a fool."

Chasten Buttigieg, husband of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, tweeted: "The author could've used fewer words to just say 'ya know in my day we didn't have to respect women.'"

Doug Emhoff, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' husband, defended Jill Biden and implicitly accused Epstein of sexism.

"Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit," he tweeted. "She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country. This story would never have been written about a man."

Meghan McCain, daughter of the late John McCain, tweeted: "I am so sick of the way accomplished, educated, successful women like @DrBiden are talked about in the media by misogynistic men. BEYOND SO SICK OF IT."

Updated December 13, 2019 10:29 AM ET, to include Psaki's tweet.

Joe Biden and Jill Biden in Delaware
President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden at the Chase Center November 07, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Tasos Katopodis/Getty